Another short story for another challenge…. as many challenges that I enter- you would think that I would place in the top three at some point.
It is late. The sun is going down, and Pandora plays in the background as I sit here with my glass of merlot, writing you this letter. I think that the red wine is giving me courage. Liquid courage. It is allowing me the freedom to remember.
I remember our first date. I am not even sure how it started. Did you ask me? Did I ask you? How did we end up in your truck driving as far north as we could get without leaving the country? I remember the restaurant; it was a small dive of a restaurant with teeny tiny coffee cups, large plates of food, and a dessert rack. I remember walking by that rack and wondering if anyone ordered apple pie for breakfast. I wanted apple pie and coffee, but I think that it was because I was nervous. I didn’t order it because I was so scared of making a wrong move. The person that I spent years with all of a sudden looked a little different. It felt different. Walking with you into that restaurant changed something. No longer were we just friends, but something more. But I didn’t have a name for what we were becoming.
That was years ago. Maybe longer? The details are beginning to fade; snippets of moments from that day are all I have left now. It has transformed more into a feeling. I remember the feeling. I think that I remember ordering breakfast; I know that the nice waitress brought us both something. But I don’t know what it was. I know that we talked for hours. Not about anything that was everyday life, but we talked about memories and our past. We mentioned painful moments and moments that made us who we were. You looked so confident sitting across from me.
How were you so calm? I was a nervous wreck. I must have drunk 7 cups of coffee because it gave me something to do. The constant stirring of the four drops of coffee that could fit in the cup, just trying to keep my cool. When you asked if I wanted to get out of there and do something, my heart did three flips. I thought I had a heart attack. That made me panic more because when the paramedics showed up, you would know that I was not wearing my best undergarments. My mother always told me to make sure that I wore suitable undergarments just in case there was an emergency. This is what I got for not listening to my mother.
You just laughed at me when all that I could do was nod my head in agreement. I didn’t have words. Words required thinking, and my mind was thinking about a thousand other things at that moment. Were you sure that you wanted to do something with me? Did you know who you were with? Did you know that I was a nerd and have almost no social skills? Did you not hear me snort over a joke I made about Winston Churchill? Who the hell makes jokes about Winston Churchill and then snorts over her own joke? Were you interested when I told you the history of smallpox in the United States? Why did I tell you that? Even now, I am blushing and just imagining that it would have been a great afternoon special on ABC on what not to do on a first date. And yet, you still wanted to do something with me.
I need another glass of merlot. The light is playing off the wine glass, and the movement is helping me to remember. It is the first time in a long time that I have wanted to remember.
We went to a park, or was it a walking trail? It was muddy, and I know that in some places, you had to walk behind me. Did you notice that I was having muscle spasms from trying to shrink my ass? I don’t think any man should walk behind a woman on a muddy trail on the first date. It is too much pressure. How the hell do you make walking in slippery mud sexy? Did you know how hard it is to stay upright in mud while someone is walking behind you, trying to hold in your ass and not get out of breath? I just had a heart attack; you could have shown me some consideration by asking questions that only required a yes or no answer. But, nope…you wanted to talk.
We finally reached the top of the 20-foot mountain, and I was pulling out a cigarette to get my breath back, and you stopped behind me. I felt your arms around me; I felt your chest against my back; I could hear you breathing. And then it was silent. A perfect silence that means the world is finally aligned. For those few moments, I didn’t worry about what we were, how I looked, or if I was making a fool of myself. I was just there in the moment.
And then, in a blink of an eye, we were driving back to our reality. And the magic of the restaurant with Barbie size coffee cups and 20-foot mountains disappeared with every mile. That is the hard part about magical first dates- sometimes they are just magic for a moment in time. Sometimes it does not end in a Happily Ever After.
I promised myself only two glasses of merlot. The second glass is now gone, and so are you. I miss you. Please come back.